Gaining Traction on Mars
Engineering, Math, Physics, Science
3D Printer, Laser Cutter/Engraver, Vinyl Cutter/Printer
Description: During this project, you will work collaboratively to design gears and wheels for a Mars rover. You will learn about the surface of Mars, design experiments, collect & analyze data, create computer-aided designs, investigate motion & friction, apply the engineering design process, use 3D printers, and more. This project includes six sections and each section includes a series of lessons with subject matter content, videos, hands-on activities, worksheets, and additional resources. This project is inspired by NASA Glenn’s Gaining Traction on Mars challenge and takes approximately 26 hours to complete.
Standards: This project aligns to Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Next Generation Science Standards, and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for sixth grade through twelfth grade.
21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Flexibility, Initiative, Media Literacy, Information Literacy, and Technology Literacy
Plan and brainstorm ideas as a team.
Analyze results and implement improvements.
Describe how meaning is embedded in logos.
Speculate about why team identity and team building are important to NASA.
Use and share makerspace equipment safely.
Discuss the Mars Exploration Program.
Speculate about the importance of exploring Mars.
Describe the surface of Mars.
Compare the characteristics of Earth and Mars.
Describe Mars rover wheels.
Identify skills, methods, and strategies used by engineers.
Create an infographic.
Construct a rover test track.
Recognize the difference between speed, velocity, and acceleration.
Assemble a Mars rover.
Calculate expected rover speed.
Determine actual rover speed.
Compare expected results to actual results.
Determine the effect of gear size on rover speed.
Calculate gear ratio.
Create computer-aided designs.
Identify and discuss forces.
Recognize and identify the positive and negative impacts of friction.
Draw free body diagrams.
Test and observe the friction between various materials.
Apply the engineering design process.
Define criteria and constraints.
Recognize the importance of criteria and constraints in the engineering design process.
Identify a need or problem.
Write a problem statement.
Locate accurate and reliable sources.
Evaluate competing design solutions.
Create a prototype.
Test, evaluate, and improve a prototype.
Exchange peer feedback.
Present to an authentic audience.